Skip to main content

Office of Fair Trading: Market Studies

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the purpose is of the use of market studies by the Office of Fair Trading. (242057)

Section 5 of the Enterprise Act 2002 gives the OFT the function of obtaining and reviewing information relating to any of its functions, both in respect of competition and consumer matters. This information-gathering role, which may involve research, is with a view to the OFT having the information it needs to make decisions and carry out its functions.

Market studies were introduced by the OFT as a means of identifying and addressing all aspects of market failure, from competition issues to consumer detriment and the effect of Government regulations. Market studies can be either short (often fact-finding) or full.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether an assessment has been made of the value for money offered by the market studies conducted by the Office of Fair Trading. (242540)

No specific assessment has been made by the Department since the regime came into force. However, the overarching regulatory impact assessment prepared for the Enterprise Act 2002 said that the overall benefits of the measures in the Act would strengthen competitive pressures in the economy and improve consumer protection. The Office of Fair Trading has an evaluation programme which measures the impact of its interventions, which can be found at

http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/about_oft/oft862.pdf

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what proportion of market studies undertaken by the Office of Fair Trading since 2003 related to public sector operations. (242594)

This is matter for the independent Office of Fair Trading. I have asked the Chief Executive to reply to the hon. Member directly.